The Pittsburgh Pirates may find themselves without an all-star starter for the 2015 version of the mid-summer classic.
The results of the first update of all-star voting are in, and the lone Pirate, Andrew McCutchen, ranks 11th in starting outfielder voting, with 339,566 votes, trailing the third outfielder, Giancarlo Stanton by over 400,000 votes. Bryce Harper deservedly leads all NL players in voting with 1,116,582 votes.
This should come as no surprise to any Pirates fan, yet it still may sting. The painful truth is, with McCutchen’s slow start, there is not currently a starting all-star position player on this team. As of this writing, Starling Marte, another potential all-star and the Pirates RBI leader, did not crack the top 15 in all-star voting.
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Of course, the Pittsburgh Pirates will have all-stars. As a refresher, the fan vote is for starting position players only. Gerrit Cole, A.J. Burnett, and McCutchen figure to have excellent chances at being named to the squad barring injury or unlikely collapses.
One dark horse candidate is Jung Ho Kang. Kang, who happens to lead all Pittsburgh Pirates position players with a 1.5 WAR, may find himself a viable candidate should he continue to receive regular playing time. Josh Harrison found himself an all-star in 2014 with what some would consider to be non-all star numbers, as he had five home runs/28 RBI and hitting .297 at the time. It is not out of the realm of possibility that Kang may end up with similar numbers or better.
We will continue to monitor the vote with each subsequent ballot update.